Time To Make Your New Year’s Resolutions

In just a few days, we’ll be welcoming 2024. I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you, dear reader, a Happy New You!

A new year is a good time to make some changes and produce a new you. Of course, I don’t mean this literally. I don’t want you to change so drastically that your friends don’t recognize you. I don’t want you to start the year, for example, as a loud-mouthed, out-of-shape man and end the year as a soft-spoken, fitness-obsessed woman.

Yes, it’s possible to change that much within a year. But for most people, drastic changes are unrealistic and difficult to maintain.

I’ve made many resolutions over my lifetime and succeeded only a few times. Along the way, I’ve learned some important lessons that I’d like to share with you.

1. Don’t aim high—aim low. Aiming high is how most people fail. Some of them have never exercised in their lives, yet they somehow convince themselves that they’re going to run for an hour a day, beginning on January 1. This usually results in a long line at the doctor’s office on January 2.

First patient: “Ouch, my foot!”

Second patient: “Ouch, my back!”

Third patient: “Ouch, my credit card!”

Trust me, you are better off running for 10 minutes a day consistently than aiming for something longer and wishing you had Obamacare.

2. Make a real commitment. How do you do this? Well, think of what happens when two people commit to each other. They have a commitment ceremony, also known as a wedding. You don’t have to have a ceremony, but you can write your resolutions down and announce them to your friends and family at the New Year’s party. This is also a good way to determine if your resolutions are realistic. If your friends say, “Good luck! You can do it!” you may want to aim lower.

3. Don’t make 10 resolutions—make a maximum of three. It’s easier to focus on a few changes at a time. Choose three resolutions that will make your life or someone else’s better, and make sure you break them down into simple, specific actions you can take every day. Don’t resolve to “read a book every month.” Resolve to “read 10 pages every evening before turning the TV on.” Don’t resolve to “have a better relationship with my wife.” Resolve to “get my butt off the couch and help my wife in the kitchen.” Don’t resolve to “be kind to strangers on the bus.” Resolve to “take showers and use deodorant.”

4. If your resolutions fail, make new ones throughout the year. You don’t have to wait until the following New Year. You can do it at any time. You can do it on the first day of a new month, on your birthday, or whenever there’s a new Trump indictment. Every morning is an opportunity to pursue a better you; every night is a chance to say, “Darn it, I’ll try again tomorrow!”

5. Don’t give up. Remember: it’s better to make a little progress toward your goals than none at all. Consistency is important. If your resolution to run for 20 minutes a day crumbles, create another resolution right away to run for 15 minutes a day. If that fails, try 10 minutes a day. You will eventually be successful, even if you’re running for just one minute a day—whenever the mouse peeks out from under your refrigerator.

Image courtesy of Provided

Share this post